Your chance to have a say on Northumberland council plan to tackle climate change
Residents are this week being invited to take an early look at Northumberland County Council’s plans to reduce its environmental impact.
The local authority is currently working on an action plan after declaring a climate emergency in the summer and pledging to reduce the council’s emissions by half by 2025 and make the county carbon-neutral by 2030.
The first meeting of a new climate change steering group took place last month with the plan due to be published in December.
Work to develop this draft action plan, focusing on five key themes, has ‘identified a number of projects where the council and others can make a real difference’ and now residents can hear about them and share their views.
A public meeting is being held at Morpeth Town Hall on Thursday, October 17, from 5pm to 7pm, to gain some initial feedback on the emerging plans – with further opportunities for public engagement as the work progresses.
Space is limited, so those wishing to attend the event must register in advance via eventbrite.co.uk, by searching for Northumberland County Council. (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/northumberland-county-council-climate-change-information-event-tickets-76249487269?aff=ebdssbeac)
Coun Glen Sanderson, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “This green county is our legacy and we must ensure we’re leaving it in good health for future generations.
“While we will be doing everything we can to reduce our carbon emissions and are already one of the greenest local authority areas in the UK, a key part of our response to climate change is promoting and facilitating wider behaviour change – this is not an issue just for the council, it’s an issue for every one of us.
“That’s why we want to start an early discussion with our communities as we develop our action plan and we hope people will sign up to come along to our event and be part of that conversation.”
The council is assessing a number of ‘innovative’ new strands of work including micro hydro-electricity generation, installation of solar car-ports and using heat from mine water to provide a new, clean heat source.
On a more day-to-day level, the authority is already looking at initiatives to expand its household waste recycling, including glass and more plastics, create more footpaths and cycling tracks, and increase the number of electric vehicle charging points in the county.
Earlier this month, Northumberland was named the joint second most climate-friendly council in England and Wales in research released by Friends of the Earth.
However, the group’s chief executive, Craig Bennett, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing.”
In September, we also reported that Northumberland is the greenest local authority in the North East, as well as in the top 10 across the UK, in terms of its carbon emissions.
The county was also among the top five nationwide in terms of the reduction in its emissions over the previous decade, based on the latest data from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which covers up to 2017.
Those statistics were released as the council’s climate change steering group met for the first time.
The efforts on climate change have cross-party support, although Labour leader, Coun Susan Dungworth, said earlier this year that her party will hold the administration to account and ‘make sure the people in Northumberland are not paying the price for any new environmental policies’.